LibriVox recording of The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe.
The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, normally known simply as Doctor Faustus, is a play by Christopher Marlowe, based on the Faust story, in which a man sells his soul to the devil for power and knowledge. Doctor Faustus was first published in 1604, eleven years after Marlowe's death and at least twelve years after the first performance of the play.
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June 4, 2011 Subject:
The Tragical History
This production reflects the joint efforts of many voice actors, and one can only hope that more troupes will invest the considerable time that's necessary to rehearse, perform, and produce recordings like this. High marks to all for their valiant efforts, and thanks for the resulting product, shared freely in the Librivox manner.
The performance (with three or four notable exceptions) reflects the largely untutored and undirected status of the troupe's members--and one wishes that the practitioners had had the services of an experienced director to help shape, polish, and energize their baseline skills. Most of the cast members demonstrate the basic reading and interpretive skills that could be coaxed to a much higher level of semi-professional performance, given adequate rehearsal time in the company of a director who knows the work.
What might such coaxing produce? Overall, a level of energy, freshness, and ingenuity that would bring a basic reading to life and vitality. This differentiates a "prosaic" reading of lines from a truly dramatic and believable performance that can capture and entrance an audience.
The exceptions to the generally prosaic reading--no doubt reflecting deeper levels of training, experience, and imaginative use of dramatic texts--are a delight in this recording.
As to the recording itself, the audio production is quite good, with technical handling (miking of actors, adjustment of levels, and so forth) that generally makes for easy listening. Ironically, the voice of Dr. Faustus often seems to be more distant from the microphone, getting "lost" in room ambience and losing definition.
All told, a creditable group effort, with quite competent technical handling of the recording itself, and a welcome addition to the Librivox audio library.